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Consciousness

Do You Live Your Life With Purpose? (Here’s How To Start)

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Intention doesn’t always have to be big or about setting goals. Your intent may be to be the best friend, family member or co-worker you can be that day, or always for that matter. It’s really about working through a process that is fulfilling and satisfying from start to finish. Setting your intention with anything that you do is living life with purpose.

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A recent study conducted by Harvard University shows that 84% of graduating MBA students did not have specific goals set for after graduating school. Fourteen percent said they had goals in mind but were not written down anywhere. And only 3% said they had goals and were actively pursuing them. Another study showed that an overwhelming 92% of our society do not pursue any aspirations and goals.

That leaves the overwhelming majority of people with too much time on their hands. And you know what happens when people have too much time on their hands, they get into the business of knowing your business and will try to fix your problems instead of fixing their own, and how often have you used your time to fix other people’s problems instead of focusing on your own…

SetAnIntentionForYourDay

Understanding Your Goals

Goal setting and living life with purpose and intention go hand in hand. They are much of the same nature and without one, the other may not take flight. It is important to understand your intention when setting goals. Are you setting a goal because of the influence of others? Are your goals based around money and other ego driven attachments such as wanting a new fancy car or a ripped body?

The best part is that you can have all of these things when living with intention and purpose, it just depends on where that goal is originating from. Do you want a new car because you’d like a reliable source of transportation or does flashing your possessions to friends and family interest you? Do you see the difference between the two intentions yet the end goals are identical? It’s important to find where your goals originate from before giving all your time and energy to bring certain goals to life. I can assure you that purchasing your new car will feel much more fulfilling if your intention was to have a safe, reliable car as opposed to a new flashy ride.

How To Live With Purpose

The best way to create intention is to express what is near and dear to your heart. This way, you’re less likely to abandon your goals. Creating an intention because it sounds good or because everyone else is doing it increases the chance that you won’t follow through with it. You just won’t see enough value in the intention. So, here’s what you need to do.

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PurposeEquationDiscover Your Core Values

These are your guiding principles, they influence your personal and professional decisions. They determine your motivation, your purpose and what makes you happy. It will be what you stand up and fight for. Make a list of your core values and narrow them down to your top 3. For example, my core values are family, health & peace of mind.

Step 2:

Next, after narrowing down the list to your Top 3 core values, you’ll need to identify opportunities, places and things you can do to express them.

Step 3:

Once you get experience and learn how to express your core values you’ll start to gravitate towards a specific type of experience. For example, I gravitated toward being of assistance to others. Now most of my long term goals and intentions are around being of assistance. I have other goals, creative, relationship and so on, but that is my main intention that I put my energy towards daily.

Which one of your core values do you gravitate toward? Focus your intention and goals around it. It takes time and hard work to reach most goals so it’s worth your time now to find what will be the most fulfilling outcome.

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Consciousness

How We Can Become Better Listeners For Each Other

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    We all like to have great listeners on our side, especially among the people closest to us. However, many of us are not the great listeners that we want others to be for us.

  • Reflect On:

    Is becoming a great listener based simply on learning good skills and tactics, or is there something more involved?

In order to foster truly deep, meaningful relationships with others, whether they be professional or personal, at least half the battle is knowing and respecting how the other person wants to be heard. Likely they are not so different from you in this regard.

As a life coach, I have come to learn that there is an art and science to listening, one that needs to be cultivated through practice and conscious effort. In my book Parables for the New Conversation, several parables are devoted to showing how problems are created between people not so much by the message that is sent, but how it is received. The receiver of the message is really in control of whether or not the conversation will turn out to be fruitful or not.

Active Listening

Assuming that we have a desire to listen and we want our partner to feel that they have been heard, what might our behavior look like?

Well, let’s start with the basics. Most people would agree that not talking when the other person is speaking is essential. If we can add in timely facial expressions and verbal sounds (“Mmm-hmm”s), this may certainly help make our partner feel that he or she is being heard. And then there is that quintessential sign that we are actively listening–if we are able to remember and repeat what the other person has said, in some form like, “What I’m hearing you say is…”.

These principles may represent some of the science of listening, but not so much the art. What I saw a lot of during my life coaching certification, especially when doing coaching role-play with other students, was the formulaic application of the principles of active listening that sometimes had a hollowness and predictability to it. Of course this is understandable, especially when people are starting off trying to do what they are not accustomed to doing. While these fundamentals are important first steps, we need to understand more the ‘why’ of active listening processes, and then get beyond formulas in order to be felt to be a great listener by others.

Understanding What People Want

If you think about someone who you consider a great listener, or think back to a conversation within which you felt you were really heard, what was that listener providing? Were they merely listening, or were they actually helping you get more clear and articulate about what you were thinking and feeling inside? Did they accept everything at face value, or did they subtly challenge you? Did you find yourself actually feeling more relaxed and confident about what you were saying?

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In this Harvard Business Review study, data from 3,492 participants was distilled into four main points that people felt were characteristics of good listening:

  • Good listening is much more than being silent while the other person talks. To the contrary, people perceive the best listeners to be those who periodically ask questions that promote discovery and insight. These questions gently challenge old assumptions, but do so in a constructive way. Sitting there silently nodding does not provide sure evidence that a person is listening, but asking a good question tells the speaker the listener has not only heard what was said, but that they comprehended it well enough to  want additional information. Good listening was consistently seen as a two-way dialog, rather than a one-way “speaker versus hearer” interaction. The best conversations were active.
  • Good listening included interactions that build a person’s self-esteem. The best listeners made the conversation a positive experience for the other party, which doesn’t happen when the listener is passive (or, for that matter, critical!). Good listeners made the other person feel supported and conveyed confidence in them. Good listening was characterized by the creation of a safe environment in which issues and differences could be discussed openly.
  • Good listening was seen as a cooperative conversation. In these interactions, feedback flowed smoothly in both directions with neither party becoming defensive about comments the other made. By contrast, poor listeners were seen as competitive — as listening only to identify errors in reasoning or logic, using their silence as a chance to prepare their next response. That might make you an excellent debater, but it doesn’t make you a good listener. Good listeners may challenge assumptions and disagree, but the person being listened to feels the listener is trying to help, not wanting to win an argument.
  • Good listeners tended to make suggestions. Good listening invariably included some feedback provided in a way others would accept and that opened up alternative paths to consider. This finding somewhat surprised us, since it’s not uncommon to hear complaints that “So-and-so didn’t listen, he just jumped in and tried to solve the problem.” Perhaps what the data is telling us is that making suggestions is not itself the problem; it may be the skill with which those suggestions are made. Another possibility is that we’re more likely to accept suggestions from people we already think are good listeners. (Someone who is silent for the whole conversation and then jumps in with a suggestion may not be seen as credible. Someone who seems combative or critical and then tries to give advice may not be seen as trustworthy.)

The ‘Art’ Of Listening

Listening only elevates into an art when you are no longer just doing it by rote, based on a set of principles, but when you truly attempt to connect to the other person, and ground your conversations in respect, care, and, let’s say it–love. The insights from the study made above need to be more than just steps to follow, they need to act as pointers towards the disposition you have to be willing to embrace within yourself to become a great listener. And the easiest way to cultivate this is to actually care what the person is saying!

But beyond caring about what they are saying, caring about why they are saying it is even more important. If you can align at a deep level with why a person is communicating with you, and what, at a deeper level, they are trying to get from the conversation, that is when they will really start to feel listened to.

For some people this is natural, and is probably why they are pretty good listeners to begin with. But many of us are not quite as intrinsically motivated to care about the other person or what they are saying. Still, if you want to be a good listener and experience connecting with people in a more satisfying way that goes beyond just learning the ‘highly effective habits’ of good listeners, then care is pretty fundamental to the process. If this seems daunting, here are a few entry-points into becoming a great listener for real:

Curiosity. When we speak to others our minds can revert to trying to gain control, seeking satisfaction from speaking out under the assumption we know what the other person is trying to say. This is especially true with a spouse or close friend we know well. The result is often a conversation that is lifeless and boring, if not confrontational. To mitigate this, simply decide that you will make a conscious effort to let go of all your preconceived assumptions and be curious about what the other person is saying. Be willing to gently dig deeply wherever things are unclear until you get a fuller picture. Enjoy the conversation as though there are mysteries to be solved.

Openness to learning. If you think you know everything, or enter into a conversation with a rigid perspective that you don’t want to change, you are unlikely to listen in a way that is satisfying to the other person. Try enter into each conversation thinking that there is something for you to learn, and actively seek out to learn something, either about the person, the issue they are having, or life in general. Another human perspective on things is the spice of life, and rather than focusing on the merits of your own perspective, consider trying to expand your worldview by paying close attention to how others see things.

A higher purpose. In the bigger picture, humanity will find greater unity as we coalesce our individual perspectives into a beautiful and complex tapestry. We contribute to this whenever we make each other’s point of view feel like it is something of value. In this endeavor, which I call ‘the new conversation,’ our listening is imbued with the a sense of deep reverence for life and our growth, not only as individuals but as a species. In each conversation that we partake in, we have an opportunity in the way we listen to further the evolution of collective consciousness. What greater motivation do we need than that?

The Takeaway

Devoting yourself to be a great listener for others, in a way that comes from the heart rather than simply the mind, will likely return your efforts tenfold in the magical connection and fulfillment you will feel.

Holographic 2020 Lunar Calendar

An art piece and lunar calendar all in one. This calendar features moon phases for every day of the month for the entirety of 2020.

Hologrpahic foil set on a dark 11" x 11" poster makes the moon's phases shimmer as light strikes them in this unique art piece.

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Consciousness

New Moon In Aquarius: Changing It Up

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We are having a New Moon in Aquarius on January 24th in the West and on the 25th in the East. This is initiating a new 29.5-day lunar cycle and new wave of energy for the coming month. However, the astrological configurations mentioned in this article will be more prominent over the coming two weeks. This cycle will include a Full Moon in Leo on February 8th/9th.

This New Moon follows an eclipse period and it’s good to keep in mind that the energies of these last two eclipses are still playing out in the background currently and over the coming months. You can read more about them here.

The Aquarius season began on January 20th/21st with Mercury also in this sign since January 16th. However, this New Moon accentuates its energies even more. Aquarius is associated with friends, social networks, the group, the team, humanity, and what is in the best interest of the collective.

It is intellectual, objective, and can be rational yet idealistic at the same time.  Associated with Uranus, it can be unconventional, innovative, original, inventive, progressive, technological, scientific, reforming, and even revolutionary.

Negatively, Aquarius can be overly detached, aloof, unemotional, and very invested in the mind at the expense of the heart. Traditionally ruled by Saturn, it can also be unyielding when it comes to the ideas and perspectives that it has already decided on.

New Moon Square Uranus and Sextile Chiron

This New Moon is in a square with Uranus which recently ended its retrograde a few weeks prior. There can be some surprises, liberating actions, or the start of moving forward in a freeing, innovative, unique, or unconventional way. Alternatively, we may strongly feel the desire to make changes at this time but may not follow through just yet.

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This energy can be erratic and may also manifest as disruptions, separation, accidents, rebellion, or even things breaking. Developments pertaining to technology, innovation, and new approaches can also play out.

The New Moon is also in a sextile to Chiron which can reinforce the originality of Uranus/Aquarius. This can reflect themes connected to healing, bridging, spirituality, wholeness, and/or holistic understanding and approaches. This aspect and the Uranus influence mentioned may have also been noticeable in the few days leading up to this lunation.

New Moon Conjunct Mercury Sextile Mars 

This New Moon is applying a conjunction to Mercury, also in Aquarius, which are all in a sextile with Mars in Sagittarius. Our minds and communications may be more energetic than usual. We may be more alert and direct in what we say and what we are thinking.

This can be good for applying ourselves in an educational way. Learning or conversations that are oriented around the big picture, sales/marketing, or connected to performing tasks may also play out. This can also be reflected in keeping busy, moving around more, or lots of commuting.

Venus Square Mars With Neptune in The Mix

Venus is in Pisces and is moving towards a conjunction with Neptune and square with Mars which is exact on January 26th-27th. At its best this energy can be creative, passionate, imaginative, inspiring, and romantic. Actions can be selfless and compassionate.

However issues and conflicts can also come up pertaining to escapism, unreliability, delusion, addiction, values, relationships, social dynamics, lack of boundaries, elusiveness, ideals, spirituality, fantasy, and perhaps some sort of confusion in these matters.

Also during this period, and especially from the 28th-29th when the Venus influence dwindles, it may be harder to focus our energy. We may be less assertive, less attentive, more scattered, and this can also be reflected by avoidance and a lack of drive.

Making Intentions and Things To Consider

There have been significant astrological configurations in January and late December. For many people, it may have had potent life-altering effects depending on how it connects to their personal astrological blueprint. What has come up for you in recent weeks and how should you proceed?

What do you need to do to help you progress in your evolution? What area of your life do you need to reform or approach differently? Are you looking to liberate yourself from a situation or behavior that is holding you back? If so, what do you need to do to achieve that? Do you need to take a more progressive, revolutionary, or collective approach to something? What do you need to do to create a better future? Is there an area of your life that needs to be looked at more objectively?

These are just some examples of what to consider or focus your intentions on at this time. However, it is good to reflect on anything else that is coming up for you. It is generally best to make any intentions within the first 24 hours following a New Moon. The exact moment it will occur is 9:42 pm Universal Time on January 24th  You can click here to see what that is in your time zone.

Follow me on INSTAGRAM, FACEBOOK, and YOUTUBE for more astrology-related content.

Looking for astrological insight into what is going on in your life? Or perhaps looking to better understand your life and its potentials? Get a personalized astrology reading with Carmen (author of this article) specific to you based on your exact birth date, time, and location. Click here for more information or to order. 

Holographic 2020 Lunar Calendar

An art piece and lunar calendar all in one. This calendar features moon phases for every day of the month for the entirety of 2020.

Hologrpahic foil set on a dark 11" x 11" poster makes the moon's phases shimmer as light strikes them in this unique art piece.

Buy yours here!
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Awareness

Let’s Contemplate A Future Without Money & How It Would Work

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Several brave thinkers, including Jacque Fresco of the Venus Project and Colin Turner of the Free World Charter, have proposed ways in which a future society could thrive if we eliminated money and trade and instead built a resource-based economy.

  • Reflect On:

    The first step in any new paradigm is believing it's possible. Do you believe humanity could not only survive but thrive in a money-free world? What would it look like?

“For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. By craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.”–1 Timothy 6:10

While it is still not commonly held in mainstream discourse that humanity could survive and even thrive without some form of monetary exchange, more and more people that are starting to trace their general discontent about contemporary society to its source are finding money and profit motive at the root of it.

Perhaps the first of the knee-jerk reactions some people might have to the idea of shifting into a money-free system is the sinking feeling of watching their hard-earned wealth evaporate into nothingness, which they might equate with abject poverty. We are so programmed to equate money with abundance that we don’t understand what abundance truly is.

At the heart of it our ‘net’ abundance is shared, and is grounded in the resources available in nature on the planet. The aggregate of these natural resources not only represents our potential abundance but our very survival. A money system grants ownership to many of these resources, and makes it exponentially easier for those with abundance to get more abundance at the expense of the vast majority of people. A money system is, in some ways, antithetical to the proper management and distribution of these resources. Without money, each individual would naturally be entitled to their share of all the resources in the world, and that would never change. But how would such a system work?

Resource-Based Economy

Jacque Fresco, founder of the Venus Project, believes that the world has reached a level of technology that will allow us to build fully self-sustaining communities all over the world which, when optimally designed, will provide not only an unimaginably high level of abundance for all its residents, but a far greater sense of shared purpose within a community. This vision is grounded in the principles of a Resource-Based Economy:

In a Resource Based Economy all goods and services are available to all people without the need for means of exchange such as money, credits, barter or any other means. For this to be achieved all resources must be declared as the common heritage of all Earth’s inhabitants. Equipped with the latest scientific and technological marvels mankind could reach extremely high productivity levels and create abundance of resources.–Venus Project website

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Without profit motive, individuals within the community will naturally turn their energy towards the efficient maintenance of the infrastructure and problem-solving and innovation for the collective, as the happiness and well-being of the community is naturally equated with one’s own happiness and well-being.

In the video below is a brief introduction to Fresco’s inspiring vision of our potential future. More information. including where the Venus Project is at on their timeline, is available on their website.

No Need For Trade

Since money is nothing more than a medium of exchange, it is only in removing the convention of exchange or ‘trade’ itself that then renders money obsolete. That’s why a Resource-Based Economy proposes that ‘all resources must be declared as the common heritage of all Earth’s inhabitants.’

In his TedX talk, Colin Turner really questions the idea that ‘trade’ is the only organizational model for life on the planet, and in fact outlines the ways in which trade is actually antithetical to human abundance and well-being:

We all more or less accept trade as being the de facto way of operating our society, so much so that we even see it as some kind of universal law. But it might surprise you to know actually that trade has only existed in relatively recent years, that in 90% of our modern human history we didn’t actually trade at all, there still are no archaeological traces of trade. In these early tribal, agrarian communities what actually happened was there was an implied understanding that everyone in the tribe looked after each other. And this was how the tribes operated for perhaps the vast majority of our early human history.

So we see trade now as a very important way of doing business, and you have to say that trade works, I get what I want and you get what you want and we all go home happy. But when you actually scratch the surface a little bit more about how trade actually pans out in the real world, it’s not such a nice story. It seems to be a better theory than actually works out in practice.

For example, the most obvious case is, about 3 billion people in the world today live on $2.50 or less a day–many of them much, much less than that. Obviously they are wracked with starvation or dying of curable diseases, so, I mean, you have to ask yourself, is trade really working for them, for those people? Clearly, it isn’t.

Colin Turner is the founder of The Free World Charter, which currently has 58,611 signatories among people from 215 different countries (and would welcome yours, if you are so inclined). The charter constitutes a set of principles that really formalizes the notion that all human individuals are entitled to maintain an equal share of the Earth’s resources, but it also outlines the natural responsibilities and practices that each individual would assume in order to live optimally and harmoniously together in a money-free community and world. Here are the ten principles:

  1. The highest concern of humanity is the combined common good of all living species and biosphere.
  2. Life is precious in all its forms, and free to flourish in the combined common good.
  3. Earth’s natural resources are the birthright of all its inhabitants, and free to share in the combined common good.
  4. Every human being is an equal part of a worldwide community of humans, and a free citizen of Earth.
  5. Our community is founded on the spirit of cooperation and an understanding of nature, provided through basic education.
  6. Our community provides for all its members the necessities of a healthy, fulfilling and sustainable life, freely and without obligation.
  7. Our community respects the limits of nature and its resources, ensuring minimal consumption and waste.
  8. Our community derives its solutions and advances progress primarily through the application of logic and best available knowledge.
  9. Our community acknowledges its duty of care and compassion for members who are unable to contribute.
  10. Our community acknowledges its responsibility to maintain a diverse and sustainable biosphere for all future life to enjoy

These are certainly not the final words on which principles should truly define a future society and world free of money, but in reading them one can clearly grasp the overall essence of the kind of mindset we will need to develop and implement in our lives if we are to shift into this new paradigm.

Walking Away From A Money Economy

The shift we are looking for here is grounded in a conscious move by the individuals of this planet away from a model of competition and towards a model of cooperation. We are all quite familiar with both, as we surely have an ample amount of experience in both ways of relating to the people around us. If you could choose right now, which kind of model would you want as the basis for the entire planet?

Some might argue that the competitive/trade/money paradigm has been instrumental in getting us to make progress, especially technologically, which we may not have achieved by remaining with the cooperative tribal model. There may be some truth in this. But does it not seem that, at this time in history, most of us have had it with the debt, scarcity, and inequality that is a hallmark of the money model? Are we not hungering for more love, cooperation and shared abundance imbued in the very organizational structures we create for ourselves to live?

Understand that making this change is not as simple as going to the United Nations or other authoritative world body, as Jacque Fresco has already done. Presenting a compelling vision of a future without money to the benefit of all of humanity does not automatically mean that the world authority will implement it right away. The powers behind world authority like the UN are actually made up of those who have the most money. What we see going on in the public arena are essentially the machinations of the puppets they control.

This is nothing new. An overall system that maintains power by the few has been in place ever since money and exchange were introduced. While in the past this wealth was protected over generations and generations by certain families who were the visible ‘royalty,’ ‘noblemen’ and ‘aristocracy’ of the day, today’s world only differs in the sense that these powers are more hidden from sight, while countries maintain the illusion of having some form of ‘democracy.’

The point is that we will never be able to elicit the help of our authority if we want to abandon our current money economy. Those in authority, who at the very top own a vast percentage of the world’s resources, certainly believe they would have the most to lose if we moved to a model founded on equally-shared abundance. What we actually need to do is elicit the help of each other, energizing important movements and fostering an awakening as to how powerful we actually are as a collective. When a critical mass of us begin marching in step to a new way of life, the current authority will have no power to stop us.

The Takeaway

A money-free society and world can certainly work from the standpoint of creating abundance for everyone on the planet. What is needed is a new awareness founded on some of the natural principles discussed here. The more that individuals of the planet slowly move away from competitive money-centered practices and spend their time and energy cultivating cooperation, the more quickly we will be able to collectively walk away from a system that no longer serves us.

Holographic 2020 Lunar Calendar

An art piece and lunar calendar all in one. This calendar features moon phases for every day of the month for the entirety of 2020.

Hologrpahic foil set on a dark 11" x 11" poster makes the moon's phases shimmer as light strikes them in this unique art piece.

Buy yours here!
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